A lot of us shirked a night or two of homework during high school to watch sports. Watching Patrick Ewing or Derek Jeter takes priority over the War of 1812 any time. What if watching sports was your homework, though?
Sounds like a pretty sweet idea, and it will become a reality this fall. The New York City Department of Education is teaming up with ESPN to create the Business of Sports School, which will begin with 81 ninth-graders. The school is part of Mayor Bloomberg's effort to replace outmoded vocational high schools with ones that are better suited for the current business landscape. All the students will have internships with companies like ABC Sports or Vitamin Water as part of the curriculum.
"I think sports will really engage the students, but they're really being prepared for the business world and the professional world more broadly," said Josh Solomon, the principal. "The skills are very transferable."
Anything that gets kids fired up about school sounds like a good idea, but ESPN's involvement could be problematic.
Will the school follow ESPN's habit of taking credit for other people's scoops? "ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that the sum of the squares of two legs of a right triangle are equal to the sum of the hypotenuse."
Instead of answering "Here" when teachers call the roll, will they have to shout "Boo-ya"?
The thought of the Bermanization of history and English classes is truly scary. Kids should learn about the presidency of Harry "This much is" Truman or read the works of Ernest "Goes to Camp" Hemingway without any of his hinjinx. The work of Charles "How many games did the" Darwin will obviously remain untouched, however.
Seriously, though, ESPN is a wildly successful company and the exposure to them and other such companies in high school can only be a good thing. Colleges will like the experience, so will future employers, which makes this idea a smart one for students.